Ottawa SkyHawks will not play next year

Say goodbye to professional basketball in Ottawa - at least for now.

The National Basketball League of Canada says the Ottawa SkyHawks will not participate in the upcoming 2014-2015 season.

The league's board of governors voted 8 - 0 to remove team owners Bytown Sports & Entertainment Inc. from the league for "failure to adhere to League standards."

NBL Canada Commissioner Paul Riley told CFRA the move had nothing to do with game attendance.

"Their first season was a very difficult one for them," said Riley of the SkyHawks. "I know they ran into some problems financially. I don't think they quite budgeted the full cost of what it took to run a team."

He said the league had been propping up the team financially and could not keep doing so.

"Quite frankly we did help them out last year," he said. "[We] sent significant money there and we just weren't in the position to do that again. It's not the model that we want to carry forward."

He said securing a permanent venue for the team was also a big problem. The team was supposed to play at Canadian Tire Centre, but ended up playing games at La Cite Collegiale and in Gatineau.

"Fans need to know where the team is going to be playing," he said. "The venues that were used were not really the quality of venues that we wanted for the NBL."

"I thought a mistake was made last year with the Canadian Tire Centre," he added. "It may be too big, too cavernous, too expensive. But there just didn't seem to be a viable solution put in place this year as the season is quickly approaching now and there is some valid concern there. The board felt the ownership group in Ottawa were not in a position to go forward in the manner in which we desire them to."

He said the league is 100 per cent committed to bringing back professional basketball to Ottawa as soon as next year.

It's not clear whether that team would be led by Bytown Sports and Entertainment.

Riley said they would be discussing in the future whether to try to recoup some of the money the league put into the SkyHawks.

Bytown Sports and Entertainment did not immediately return calls.

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